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Cablegate: Jerusalem Media Reaction (9/15): A "Multipolar" World And

VZCZCXRO2718
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DE RUEHJM #1716/01 2590854
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 150854Z SEP 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2783
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEADWD/DA WASHINGTON DC//DAS-ZD/DACS-ZK//
RUEAHQA/CSAF WASHINGTON DC//POLAD//
RHMFIUU/CMC WASHINGTON DC
RUENAAA/CNO WASHINGTON DC//POLAD//
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 7317
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4299
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4152
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 5646
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 4067
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2633

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 JERUSALEM 001716

SIPDIS

STATE PASS BBG
STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD
WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE, SIT ROOM
NSC FOR ABRAMS
CMC WASHINGTON DC FOR POLAD

JERUSALEM ALSO FOR ICD
LONDON FOR HKANONA AND POL - TSOU
PARIS ALSO FOR POL
ROME FOR MFO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KMDR KPAL KWBG KPAO IS
SUBJECT: JERUSALEM MEDIA REACTION (9/15): A "MULTIPOLAR" WORLD AND
THE PEACE PROCESS

-------------
Main Stories:
-------------

"Greater Israel is over... anyone who talks that way is delusional,"
according to Israeli Premier Olmert, whose comments to the Israeli
cabinet on September 14 lead coverage in Al Quds and Al Ayyam. In
separate reporting, all front-pages highlight Olmert's condemnation
of recent attacks by Jewish settlers on two West Bank villages near
Nablus, describing the attacks as "murderous." The reports detail
the number of Palestinians injured and damage to Palestinian
agricultural land, downplaying official Israeli statements promising
to deal firmly with settler violence.

Remarks by Hamas leader Khalid Mish'al stating that there will be no
legitimate Palestinian president after January 2009 unless new
elections are held, is front page news in all dailies. Al-Ayyam
leads with the story under the headline, "Mish'al initiates battle
over the Presidency, refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the
[PLO] Executive Committee." Other stories quote Palestinian
Authority President Abbas noting that Palestinian law will be the
basis for resolving the issue.

Citing Israeli daily Yediot Ahranut, Al-Ayyam front-pages a report
that Palestinian Authority President Abbas and Israeli Premier
Olmert will meet on September 16 to discuss, "among many peace
process issues," proposed compensation for "Jewish settlers" who
would voluntarily move from their West Bank homes.

Al-Quds front-pages several stories quoting international leaders
condemning Israeli West Bank settlement activities. Spanish Foreign
Minister Moratinos, who visited Ramallah on September 14, is
reported describing the expansion of settlements as an "obstacle" to
any future agreement between the two sides. Jordan's King Abdullah
and EU foreign policy chief Solana are also quoted criticizing
Israeli settlement activities in the West Bank. In related
reporting from the weekend, Palestinian Authority President Abbas
told the press after his meeting with Moratinos that, "We will ask
the new US administration to support the peace process immediately
after it is elected." Abbas also held weekend meetings with
Norwegian Special Coordinator for the Middle East and Special Envoy
of the Russian President on September 13, according to weekend
coverage.

Al-Ayyam quotes Bassam Zakarnah, head of the union for Palestinian
Authority (PA) employees, confirming that the PA has agreed to pay
employees their September salaries and 50 percent of their benefits
by the end of the month.

The closure of all Gaza crossings by the Israeli Government is
highlighted in all dailies. Citing a statement issued by Israeli
Defense Minister Barak's office, reports state that the closure is a
response to the September 14 firing of a missile from the Gaza Strip
on the Israeli town of Sderot.

---------------
Weekend stories
---------------

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Al-Quds led with comments by an American expert from the
conservative Washington think tank, Foundation for Defense of
Democracies, regarding a probable Israeli attack on Iran. The

JERUSALEM 00001716 002 OF 003


expert notes that the "ideal" time for a strike would be after the
November presidential elections, during the transition between
administrations. If Barack Obama wins, the likelihood of an Israeli
strike is higher than if John McCain wins because of Obama's and
Biden's "appeasement policies" towards Iran and "less favorable
views" of Israel, according to the story that first appeared in Gulf
dailies.

All dailies report on the killing and injuring of West Bank
Palestinians by Israelis. Front pages highlighted that armed
"Jewish settlers" attacked the Nablus area village of Asira
Al-Qibliya after a Palestinian intruder stabbed and lightly wounded
an Israeli boy in an "illegal Jewish outpost." Al-Ayyam leads with
news of the killing of a Palestinian teenager by Israeli Defense
Forces near Bethlehem on September 13.

Palestinian Authority (PA) Premier, Salam Fayyad was shown on front
pages feeding a little girl at an orphanage in Hebron during a
September 13 Iftar. In remarks, Fayyad again called for an end to
internal Palestinian division and reunification according to the
plan proposed by PA President Abbas.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Front pages showed photos of worshipers performing the second Friday
prayers of Ramadan at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque and throngs of
other worshipers who were prevented from entering Jerusalem,
standing behind the Qalandiya checkpoint near the West Bank city of
Ramallah. The three dailies highlighted that more than 100,000
Palestinian worshipers performed the Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa,
despite strict Israeli procedures imposed at West Bank checkpoints.

All dailies led with a September 12 interview by Palestinian
Authority President Abbas with Israeli daily Ha'aretz. Abbas raised
doubts over the possibility of an early peace agreement before
December and emphasized that the U.S. plays a central role in the
peace process. He added that Israel must discuss (in negotiations)
both its responsibility for the refugee problem and a practical
solution to the right of return. "Palestinians who do not return to
Israel will be able to return to Palestine, "the Palestinian leader
further commented. The complete interview was published on the
inside pages of the three dailies.

------------
BLOCK QUOTES:
------------
1. Independent Al-Quds runs its main editorial under the title,
"Partition on the Basis of International Legitimacy"(09/15): "in a
statement seldom made by Israeli leaders, Premier Ehud Olmert said
[on September 14] in an address to his government, that the dream of
Greater Israel has ended [forever] and that maintaining otherwise is
self-delusion, adding that this land must be divided [between Israel
and] the Palestinians if Israel does not want to become a
bi-national state. With this, Olmert clarified vital issues but
also raised many questions... The strange thing about this position
is the justification that Olmert offers for... the need to divide
the land with the Palestinians - not in the interest of peace,
security, or the welfare and prosperity of both peoples - but mainly
because of his desire that Israel not become a bi-national state and
remain a Jewish state, completely ignoring the rights of the Israeli
minority [of Palestinians] living within the green line... Is [the
proposed partition] the same partition of historical Palestine [1948

JERUSALEM 00001716 003 OF 003


borders] per international resolutions?... If the dream of Greater
Jerusalem has vanished from the minds of Israeli leaders, they
should seek to implement legitimate international resolutions and
not to impose a new division that can never be a basis for peace,
security or stability in the region".

2. Under the title "Has the Exception Become the Rule?" regular
columnist Talal Okal opines in independent Al-Ayyam: "[t]he
Palestinian negotiating team should have agreed to [conduct] a media
campaign to expose the Israeli policies that are responsible for the
failure of negotiations... Palestinians should take into account the
role of international variables that are moving us towards a
multi-polar world in which Russia will play a critical role... [and
the EU will play a greater role], especially in Arab-Israeli peace
negotiations, including Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.
Negotiations have reached their final phase, for it is not expected
that the current American administration will be capable of
continuing [the process]. Probably, the September 26 meeting
between Bush and [PA President] Abbas is the final attempt."

WALLES

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